Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Lean Manufacturing: A Case Study of a Sri Lankan Manufacturing Organization

Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Lean Manufacturing: A Case Study of a Sri Lankan Manufacturing Organization

Article excerpt

This paper presents an application of the Lean Production System in a manufacturing environment. It discusses the most important elements of lean practices through a case study, carried out in a Food processing facility in Sri Lanka, where lean system was implemented. Further it illustrates the impact of lean consumption on bottom-line results of business processes. It was found that leanness of the business process is below the expectation as its process cycle efficiency is around 12.4%. It means that most of the activities (nearly 88%) of the Jar-process consist of Business Non-Value Added (BNV) and Non-Value Added (NVA) activities. Therefore improving this process would bring in a lot of financial gain as well as the had time reduction.

INTRODUCTION

Toyota Production System (TPS) is a buzzword today in manufacturing circles. It is known as a flexi and cost-effective production model all over the world. TPS was conceptualized by Taiichi Ohno at Toyota Motor Company in 1950s (Motwani, 2003). In fact, TPS is the result of a series of best practices, which have been tested at Toyota Motor Corporation over the several decades. The goal of implementing TPS in an organization ". . .is to increase productivity, reduce lead-times and costs, improve quality, etc." (Sriparavastu and Gupta, 1997; Sánchez and Pérez, 2001).

Kasul and Motwani (1997) in their study find that companies that employ TPS have benefits such as "reduced lead times, just-in-time management, decreased costs, levelled production, continuous flow production, increased job satisfaction for employees, highet productivity, lower inventories, and higher quality levels." Japanese companies have been able to successfully implement this system and hence been able to reduce the time for turnaround from when the customer orders to delivery and cash received. This reduction in time has helped companies through tough times and helped in maintaining their profitability.

CONCEPT OF LEANNESS

Lean means producing more with less. The concept highlights the importance of less consumption of resources in all aspects of the business i.e., throughout the value creating process. Interest in the concept of leanness has expanded and evolved to include concepts of agility and responsiveness (Soriano-Meier and Forrester, 2002).

Soriano-Meier and Forrester (2002) state that increasingly in competitive markets the concept of leanness is gaining importance for the practitioner since it is an amalgamation of the processes of TQM, Just-In-Time (JIT) management, and computerized aspects of the design process, and factory and supply chain management. Implementing the aspects of leanness takes time and hence getting the gains of the lean concept can be viewed as a strategic process which does not give short-term benefits such as short-term competitive pressures. The concept of leanness is also of interest to the academic since there are few studies which have defined the concept in operational terms or addressed the measurement of its adoption in firms.

Lean consumption paves the way for creating business processes which consume less resource and produce more tangible outputs. A lean process consumes time and materials only and when the buyer demands (pull system in a lean process). Further lean processes are made up of actions that are paid by the buyer. All other possible nonpaid actions are supposed to be eliminated. Any action that is not paid by the buyer is called non value added actions. Hence variables of consumption are; time, materials and un-paid activities

Practical application of lean tools provides us with some elegant solutions, which eliminate or mitigate root causes of wasters from the business process. The delivery on demand, one piece flow, pull system and load leveling and six sigma quality are the fundamentals to reduce consumption.

CASE STUDY

The methodology used for presenting the case study is explored in this section. …

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